The stubborn Arizona Cardinals (3-13 )gave the Seattle Seahawks (10-6) one last gut-check Sunday afternoon in their 24 to 27 loss to the Seahawks who had one eye on Sunday’s regular-season finale and another on the impending playoffs. The biggest take away from the Hawks Sunday victory at CenturyLink Field is that they won the game. The Seahawks will face the Dallas Cowboys in next Saturdays ( 5:15 p.m. PST) NFC Wildcard game in Dallas.
At times during Sunday’s game, the Seahawks showed that they are a legitimate playoff contender that has the potential to make a long run and at times the Seahawks looked like a one and done pretender.
Russell Wilson engineered another game-winning drive after Zane Gonzalez 55-yard yard tied the game at 24 all with 1:54 left in the game. After a touchback on the kickoff, Wilson and the Seattle offense had the ball at the Seahawks 25-yard line with 1:49 left on the game clock. A perfect opportunity for the Seahawks to execute their two-minute offense
Wilson engineered an eight play, 60-yard game winning drive that ended with a 33-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski as time expired for the win. The Hawks rushed for 182 yards and running back Chris Carson rushed for 102 yards, scored one touchdown on nineteen carries. Mike Davis finished the game with 44 yards on seven carries and one touchdown.
THE BAD The Seahawks passing game was downright woeful. While Wilson was able to move team downfield for the game-winning field goal, the team finished with a mere 109 passing yards and was a measly four of 14 on third down. Wilson finished the day 21of 12 for 152 yards with one touchdown, one interception for a passer rating of 75.9
The Seahawks offense gave up six sacks and the way Wilson was running for his life much of the game, one had to wonder how much more punishment he would take before the Seahawks would entertain the thought of saving for the upcoming playoff game. The said reason for the poor play of the offensive line was the reshuffling of some of the Oline starters due to injury according to Carroll.
“ Fortunately we ran the ball well and got our yardage and did like we’ve been doing. But we had trouble with the pass protection today was obvious, and they got six sacks, too. We had some trouble with line calls, line stunts and things that they were doing, a couple pressures we didn’t identify well, and you could just see the mixing and matching caught us a little bit today against a team that makes it really hard on you.
” And so was a bad mix. Fortunately, we should be back to pretty good shape next week as we get ready for the next game. Fluke was ready to play today. We held him out. He was ready if we needed him, which is great, so he goes back in there and that allows Ifedi to go back to tackle and George to go back to the tight end stuff that we’ve been doing, and we’re pleased with that, and we’ll find out about Sweez.”
Another not so stellar performance was the special teams play. The Seahawks had two punts blocked punts and never to advantage of field position when it was given by the special teams and to make matters worse the Seahawks gave up chunk yards on special teams. The inept play of the special teams is something Pete Carroll was quick to address in the postgame post-conference.
” Gosh, I don’t know. We’ve got to go to work. On the first punt block, it was just a regular guy forcing the punt, and he broke down the edge and got a hand on the ball. I don’t know about the other one. But the whole field position thing just messed this game up totally. We could have lost the game today just because of that. Fortunately, we hung in there and didn’t allow that to happen, but the big punt return was huge.
“That was a change of field position. Of course both blocks, enormous, a huge call in the game, too, the defensive holding play when they knocked the ball out of Russ and got a touchdown on it. Incredible turnaround, what happened, we popped the ball the very next play or whatever it is to change the field position. But that was a very — we were very fortunate there.”
The bottom line for the Seahawks is that they snapped thier three game losing streak to the Cardinals, finished 10-6 and entered the NFC playoffs as the fifth seed in a season no one expected them to have a winning season. As for the rematch with the Cowboys again, Wilson believes the Seahawks are ready.
“Well, we played Dallas here and it was a battle. They have so many tremendous players. They have some guys that are young. Their linebackers are phenomenal. They were just kind of starting, you could tell how good they were going to be. They’re coached really well, just across the board. They do things the right way. They play the right way. When we started off 0 and 2, the reality is this, and I’ve said this a couple of times. We went to Denver, we felt like we should have won that game.
” Von Miller had a day, near the end, there. He made really three big-time plays that kind of took the game, it kind of felt like. We should have won that game, we felt like, and then fast forward we went to Chicago. They’ve been great all year as you guys can see. They have a great team. Obviously, the addition of Khalil and what he’s been doing there, and everything else, but we didn’t play our best there. Then we came back home, it was good to be back home, and pulled out a good win against the Cowboys last time. But, I think that they were kind of in the same spot that we were at.
“Just the beginning, it’s a journey. You can’t just be the first one to feel like you have to win the race; it’s a journey. It takes time. I think they’ve done a tremendous job of staying the course, very similar to how we have. It’s going to be a great showdown, it’s going to be a great opportunity. We look forward to these moments, we don’t fear them. I think we have to be great this week, though. We have to get better.
That’s the thing that we’ve been doing all year. If we have a tough game, we come back, we come back swinging, and we come back swinging the right way through practice, and through attention to detail and allowing us to be successful, hopefully, on game day.”